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House Democrats give IRS an extension to provide Trump tax returns

Doug Sword, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal is giving the IRS an extension until 5 p.m. on April 23 to produce the six years of President Donald Trump's tax returns he requested earlier this month.

The Massachusetts Democrat told IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig in a letter Saturday that the agency has failed to produce the tax returns despite an "unambiguous legal obligation to do so" under Section 6103 of the tax code. If Rettig declines to turn over the records by the new deadline, Neal wrote that "your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request."

Neal's initial deadline for Rettig was April 10. But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote to Neal that the agency could not comply at that time and that he would be discussing the matter further with Justice Department counsel.

Mnuchin wrote that the request was politically motivated and didn't have an underlying public policy objective.

Trump had telegraphed his Treasury secretary's move Wednesday, telling reporters he wouldn't release his tax returns since he's still under audit.

Neal has asserted his right under the Internal Revenue Code to ask for any tax return from the IRS. Section 6103 of that code states that the agency "shall furnish" any return requested by either the House Ways and Means or Senate Finance chairmen.

 

Democrats contend that a 1982 Treasury order delegated the responsibility for complying with Section 6103 to the IRS commissioner, and that the tax laws also stipulate if Treasury wants to take that power back, it must first provide 30 days' notice to lawmakers.

The powers given the tax-writing committee chairmen stem from a 1924 law that had its origin in conflict of interest and bribery allegations against administration figures and those the administration did business with at the time.

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